Alessandro Di Mariano Filipepi


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Sandro Botticelli is the name by which the early Italian [Renaissance#ESCUELAS#4] artist Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi is better known. Botticelli was his older brother, Giovanni's nickname. Giovanni was rather obese and his nickname of "little barrels" spread to the whole family. Sandro was born in [Florence#LUGARES#5] around 1444-1445 into a humble family of artisans. This could have been why he began to train as a goldsmith, a trade that was extremely prestigious in the 15th century. However, the young man changed his plans and at the age of seventeen joined Fra Filippo Lippi's studio. Lippi was one of the most famous Florentine painters of the Quattrocento. Botticelli's apprenticeship took place in Prato and lasted for five years. Around 1465 Sandro painted his first works under the watchful gaze of his master whose style is apparent in the images of the Madonna and Child that Botticelli executed at this time. From 1470 Botticelli ran his own workshop on what is now Via della Porcelana in Florence in a house that his father had bought six years before. In 1470 he received his first commission from an official organisation: the figure of Fortitude for the "Sei della Mercanzia". The young painter's fame had been established by earlier works such as the Adoration of the Magi. His inclusion in the list of the "Compagnia degli Artisti di San Luca" dates from 1472 and Filippino Lippi is mentioned as one of his assistants. The style of both masters was very similar at this time, with a liking for linear figures and the use of bright colouring. In the early 1470s Botticelli painted scenes of great beauty such as Judith's Return to Bethulia, a second Adoration of the Magi and the Virgin of the Eucharist. In 1474 he visited Paris to paint a series of frescos in a local cemetery. He executed an image of the Virgin as a test piece but unfortunately neither the frescos nor the panel have survived. A year later the artist's close relationship with the Medici family began, a collaboration that was to be long and productive. The paintings executed in the late 1470s - particularly his portraits of individuals such as Giuliano de Médici - increased his fame even more. In July 1481 he was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to work on the decoration of the Sistine Chapel along with Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Pinturicchio and Cosimo Rosselli. The Scenes from the Life of Moses and the "Temptation of Christ" are two of the works he executed in Rome. Having finished the work in Rome Botticelli returned to Florence after hearing that his father had died. In the 1480s Botticelli painted his most important works: the series of Nastagio degli Onesti, the Madonna of the Magnificat, the Madonna of the Pomegranate and his mythological scenes such as the Birth of Venus and the Primavera, which brought him further success. During this period he received numerous commissions from the most prestigious families in Florence. The Bardi Altarpiece or the Annunciation demonstrate that his beautiful style was at its peak. His style is somewhere between [Renaissance#ESTILOS#1] concepts and the spirit of the late Gothic, incorporating into his work his clients' own thoughts, which meant that he received many commissions. In the 1490s, the Benedictine monk Girolamo Savonarola began to influence the religiosity of the Florentines. Botticelli was affected by the monk's crusade and his brother Simone was one of the cleric's fervent followers. The death of Lorenzo the Magnificent was followed by the expulsion of the Medici from Florence in 1494, although the artist remained in contact with them. However, Savonarola's influence grew in Florence and Botticelli's work underwent a change towards asceticism as can be seen in the Pietà, the Coronation of the Virgin or the famous panel of the Calumny of Apelles. The artist's economic situation must have been quite reasonable as he and his brother were able to buy a villa with views of the Arno. On February 7th 1497 Savonarola carried out the first "bonfire of the vanities of Florence" where numerous luxury objects were burnt. It is thought that Botticelli threw a number of his own works into the fire. Just over a year later Savonarola was hung and burnt at the stake after being accused of heresy. The monk's death affected the painter deeply, increasing the restraint of his style as can be seen in the Nativity from 1500, his only surviving work that is signed and dated. Around 1500 Sandro's style was surpassed by that of Leonardo and [Michelangelo#pintor_en#2750]. In 1502 Botticelli was anonymously accused of maintaining homosexual relations with his assistants and disciples. Fortunately the accusations did not have any legal or social implications for the artist as two years later he was a member of the commission charged with deciding the location of Michelangelo's statue of David. Botticelli died in Florence on May 17th 1510. His body was laid to rest in the Ognissanti cemetery, a site which is now occupied by various buildings.

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